The Acceleration Lab leverages design thinking to solve complex problems in health care. Working closely with clinical teams, we employ a disciplined and scientific approach to understand the problem space, empathize with users, challenge assumptions, and rapidly validate high-impact solutions that meaningfully improve health and health care.


Image of double diamond framework

We believe the best way to make significant improvements to patient health, clinician experience, and care delivery is to experiment quickly at low cost – scaling only once we find high-impact solutions. Most successful innovations differ substantially from where they started. Since getting it right the first time is rare, small, quick tests are required before system-wide implementation.

Employing a scientific approach toward creating, evaluating, and implementing new ideas helps us learn faster and at lower cost what works and what doesn’t. The iterative and agile approach we use to apply design thinking to care delivery has four components that alternate between divergent and convergent action. This approach is represented by the double diamond.

Check out our design-thinking toolkit to learn more about the methodology we use to drive change. 

Project Phases

Projects at the Acceleration Lab move through four phases of work with the ultimate goal of bringing successful innovations to scale. 

Phase one: It might work

In phase one, we work to gain a deep understanding of the problem or opportunity space, rapidly test potential solutions, and generate early evidence that we can move the needle. Learning what not to do in phase one is a success as long as we’ve done so quickly and at low cost. Sometimes this is called "failing fast and cheap." Efficiently invalidating hypotheses helps to create a culture of experimentation that enables organizations to succeed.

Phase two: It does work

In phase two, we move from conducting small experiments to testing at a level of scale that will produce the evidence needed for operational stakeholders to invest in the solution. We also work to articulate a business model that demonstrates a clear return on investment. 

Phase three: How we work

In phase three, we leverage the knowledge, metrics, and momentum from previous phases to secure funding and support for the solution at scale. Projects graduate when a sustainable infrastructure for the solution is implemented at Penn Medicine. 

Phase four: How others work

In phase four, we seek to energize and catalyze other health systems to adopt successful innovations.

Key Project Domains

Optimizing who gets care

We leverage real-time, algorithmic identification and data-driven risk assessments to identify the right patient for the right intervention at the right time.

Changing who gives care

We use escalation and automation to optimize resource allocation so that clinicians can practice at the top of their license and patients can access care sooner.

Shifting where care happens

We move care to occur in high-value settings and support patients between encounters through remote monitoring.

Enabling effort reduction

We make the right choice the easy choice by implementing low-friction pathways and eliminating work for clinicians and patients wherever possible.


Learn more about opportunities to collaborate with our team and practice our methods below. 


Innovation Accelerator Program

The Innovation Accelerator Program supports faculty and staff from across Penn Medicine in their efforts to develop, test, and implement new approaches to improve health care delivery and patient outcomes. Working closely with innovation advisors, teams selected to participate in the program move through multiple phases of work to validate solutions and bring successful innovations to scale at Penn Medicine and beyond. 

Accelerators in Health Care Game

Created by Acceleration Lab staff, the Accelerators in Health Care card game leverages the power of analogies and constraints to help teams generate innovative solutions for some of the toughest challenges in health care. After cycling through co-creation, pitch, and idea selection stages, players leave the game with enhanced ideation skills and a deeper understanding of innovation methodology.